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NQA Definitions of Terms for Certification

The National Qigong Association defines Qigong as a mind-body-spirit practice that improves one’s mental and physical health by integrating posture, movement, breathing techniques, self-massage, sound, and focused intent. The NQA represents all forms of Qigong including personal and group practices and clinical practice, rooted in Classical Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It may also include martial and /or religious practices.

For a more in-depth description and some of the benefits of Qigong practice, please see our "What Is Qigong" page.

(Definitions are listed in alphabetical order)

Application Review Committee (ARC): an NQA sub-committee of the Certification Committee that reviews an applicant’s credentials for certification and based on defined metrics and requirements, makes a recommendation on whether the applicant meets these requirements for the level that the applicant applied for. The ARC has the right to request an interview with any applicant before issuing a certificate. Should an applicant be denied a certificate, the applicant can re-apply after a year’s time. The training credits received the past year will be readjusted to reflect the new totals.

Adverse Qi Reaction/Qi Deviation: an abnormal occurrence in the practice of Qigong which may appear as dizziness, shortness of breath, nervousness, tightness in the chest
region, insomnia and other Qi deviations signs.

Applicant: person desiring certification and who has applied for any level of instructor, teacher/clinician under the NQA certification guidelines.

Book & Video study: time spent by the applicant in the study and practice of Qigong without a teacher through videos and readings. For live streaming classes see “Virtual Qigong Training”.

Certification: The process by which a person receives a formal certificate documenting completion of the credentials for a certain specified level of teaching, instructing or clinical work. The certificate informs the public of the depth and scope of Qigong principles and practices. The certificate holder is supported by the full faith of the NQA membership.

Clinical contact and non-contact of Qi emission: ways in which a Qigong healer will emit and transfer Qi to another with the intention to balance Qi flow and for healing purposes.

CPR certification: applicant has taken a cardio pulmonary resuscitation course and has in their possession a current Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation certification card.

Correspondence learning courses: there is no real face to face time interaction between teacher and student. Student does self-study of course materials and personally
engages in the principles and practices put forth.

Current liability insurance: a current policy with an insurance carrier that will legally protect the practitioner from a Qigong accident or an accusation of gross negligence or misconduct of a client/patient.

Documented hours of instruction: study in the principles and practices of Qigong given by a Qigong instructor/teacher. This may be through formal training, online and virtual classes and tutoring, correspondence courses, book and DVD study, seminars and conferences.

Formal Clinical Qigong Training (FCQT): the hours of study where direct instruction is received in an in-person class setting from an instructor. These hours include energetic anatomy & physiology, Qi transmission through non-touch and/or light touch methods and recommendation of Qigong exercises and meditations. This training teaches the development of skills, derived through formal instruction and self-cultivation, in the assessment, clearing and direct treatment of one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (consciousness) alignment rooted in Taoism and Chinese medical principles. The clinical application of Qigong integrates Formal Qigong Training into clinical training and includes Chinese medical theory and Qigong history, theory, and philosophy. Other techniques and practices such as acupressure, cupping and adjunct therapies may also be taught. Curriculums vary between schools.

Formal Qigong training: In-person training where teacher and student are physically present in the same location at the same time. Formal training generally includes the
cultivation and perception of Qi, the experience of Qi and the Qigong state, centering, rooting, grounding, the knowledge of Qigong theories of what Qi is and how Qi works, an understanding of the three Dan Tians, Jing, Qi and Shen, Yin/Yang, Five Phases, and the Meridian/ Acupoint system. It includes utilization of Qi in practice, teaching and Qi emission.

Interview with Application Review Committee: conversation with members of the Application Review Committee, either online or in person, to discuss one’s sense of Qigong and one’s personal practice.

Membership in Good Standing: a member of the NQA who has remained current with their NQA membership, has fulfilled the requirements of NQA in accordance with their level of certification, possesses credentials that can be verified in some way, and has not been censured, expelled or suspended from the NQA for a breach of the NQA bylaws.

Personal Cultivation Practice: the details of one’s personal Qigong practice, and the frequency and duration of practice. This is one’s personal journey of self-discovery of Qigong through the use of focus, breath and intention.

Primary Qigong Teacher: one’s main or principal teacher, from whom you received the majority of your training hours.

Professional Member Certification: Evaluation of the hours/years of study of Qigong. Certification provides an opportunity to inform the public of the depth and scope of Qigong study and practice. Though certification is internal to the NQA as there is presently no national standard, it is supported by the full faith of the NQA membership organization and may act to enhance and highlight one’s professional standing.

Qigong Clinical Practitioner: is an individual who, in addition to ‘Formal Qigong Training, has been trained in Clinical Qigong theory and the assessment and treatment of the body, mind, emotions, and consciousness through a variety of methods. This includes illness specific exercises, meditation, energy exchange protocols, and has contraindication training. These individuals have developed the ability to discern and describe health patterns in terms of the energy balance of a client. Clinical Qigong utilizes Qigong methods and a strong internal focus to treat the patient as an energy being to help restore health and wellness. They might use modalities such as acupressure, clinical massage, and other related treatment protocols (cupping, gua-sha, etc) consistent with Clinical Qigong theory and their particular training.

Qigong Integrated Professional: a professional who is a service provider in their respective health, wellness or medical field, who is practicing legally in their State or Province and is using Qigong in their practice. QIP may include, but is not limited to: instructors and practitioners of western medicine, Chinese medicine, nursing, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic, osteopathic medicine, audiology, counseling, dentistry, marriage and family therapy, occupational therapy, optometry, physical therapy, podiatry, psychology, social work, veterinary medicine, homeopathy, psychotherapists, functional medicine practitioners, physiotherapy, tuina, physical therapy, asian bodywork, massage therapists, yoga instructors, somatic therapists, and behavioral health sciences. These are among the potential candidates for this level of NQA certification.

Qigong: the ability to generate, activate, circulate, and balance Qi utilizing posture, breath and intention developed through personal practice and/or clinical treatment.

Qigong Senior Teacher: the highest level of certification/recognition of the organization and denotes wisdom, insight, Qi transmission, and the embodiment of the Qi State in the teacher’s field. This level exemplifies a mutual empowering and reciprocating attitude of respect. A Qigong practitioner at this Senior level has taught instructors of Qigong, clinical practitioners, or both, for 10 years or more. This level acts as a mentor for others in the field, training them and refining their practice. A person at this level is acknowledged as such by their peers and the Application Review Committee of the NQA. This level is recognized to teach all levels of formal Qigong instruction. As a teacher of teachers, this means teaching people who then go on to become teachers, teaching people how to become teachers, teaching advanced practice programs, and teaching courses or training programs where there are participants who are already teachers in the group seeking to refine their offerings.

Related studies: personal participation in healing art forms and personal practices that are meridian/acupoint based. These relevant studies need to incorporate some of the basic principles of Qigong such as Yin/Yang, the three Dan Tians, Jing, Qi and Shen, meridian/point knowledge and the Five Phases. This may include martial and religious Qigong training.

Virtual Qigong Training: Classes or instruction where the teacher and student are connected online and can see and speak to each other in real time. It may be one-on-one or in a larger group. A letter of explanation from the teacher outlining the format of the virtual training and what was taught may be necessary as part of the Application Review Committee’s assessment of the value of this training. The hours acceptable for virtual training vary depending on the course parameters.

Tracks are pathways to Certification:

Instructor Track: For NQA Professional Members who wish to teach Qigong in public or private settings and be recognized through a validated national certificate, for their specific level of training and personal practice. An instructor is someone who teaches Qigong
principles and specific practical skill sets, and is well-versed in a variety of topics related to

Clinician Track: For NQA Professional Members who offer clinical Qigong therapies and health support services and wish to be recognized for their expertise with a validated,
national certification. This is for those who present themselves to the public as Qigong Clinicians and engage primarily in clinical Qigong healing modalities, treatment and health support services.

Integrative Track: For NQA Professional Members who primarily offer health and healing modalities other than Qigong at a professional level, and utilize Qigong principles and practices in their work to enhance their treatments or practices. This is for those who wish to show clients that their training in Qigong is sufficient to enhance their service offering and warrants national certification.